Former Clients Of Acting DHS Secretary Received Millions In Government Contracts
Several former clients of acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, who was a lobbyist at Wexler & Walker before he joined DHS, have received at least $160 million in contracts from DHS since he has held leadership roles at the department, according to CNBC’s Brian Schwartz.
- In 2017, Wolf took the position of acting chief of staff at the Transportation Security Administration. He then became the chief of staff to former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
- “Acting Secretary Wolf has had zero involvement in DHS contract awards, including contracts won by his former clients,” a DHS spokesman told CNBC. “He leaves those matters to the career professionals in the DHS Chief Procurement Office.”
- Schwartz noted that “after joining TSA, Wolf recused himself from DHS matters that involved his former clients and has maintained that recusal throughout his tenure at the department.”
- Regardless, Democrats have criticized the revelation, with Democratic super PAC American Bridge’s spokesman Kyle Morse saying that “Donald Trump and Chad Wolf’s flagrant conflicts of interest screw taxpayers over while rewarding their crony friends and special interest. When voters sent Trump to Washington, they thought he would ‘drain the swamp.’”
- In 2017, Trump signed an executive order prohibiting former lobbyists and lawyers from being involved in government matters related to their former clients for the first two years of their tenure in the administration. Some officials have been allowed to waive out that rule. However, Wolf is neither listed on the public waiver list nor on the ethics waiver list that was released by ProPublica.
Wolf’s former clients who received millions in government contracts include American Science and Engineering, ABB, and Analogic Corporation.
- AS&E received over $80 million in one contract with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which is under DHS. According to the firm’s website, it received at least $93 million in DHS contracts in 2018.
- Between 2017 and 2018, Analogic received over $9 million in DHS contracts. Analogic in 2017 also received a $4 million base contract with TSA that allowed it “a 12-month development phase and 24 months of prototype warranty, with options for additional ConneCT prototypes and warranty for a period of 24 months at the TSA’s discretion.”
- ABB has received a $5.6 million contract with DHS for providing services to the U.S. Coast Guard. Wolf lobbied for ABB until 2016, while an ABB spokesman said that they have not contacted Wolf since he finished his tenure as a lobbyist. “The contract referenced in your email is a service and maintenance contract for a vessel commissioned with an ABB Azipod propulsion system back in 2006. To our knowledge, ABB representatives did not meet or discuss any agreements with Mr. Wolf since he left Wexler Walker,” said ABB’s spokesman Chris Shigas.
AS&E and Analogic did not return requests for comment.